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Back in August I blurbed about Mesarthim, an Australian one-man atmospheric black metal project specializing in, well, atmosphere. Gobs of it: impenetrable fuzz, bleak vocals, NASA-approved themes, Brobdingnagian synth, etc. All this, packed into a powerful sophomore full-length .- -​.​.​. .​.​. . -. -​.​-​. ., a straightforward exercise in abstract elevation.

Mesarthim has been prolific lately: two EPs have since landed. The first, The Great Filter, falls more in line with .- -​.​.​. .​.​. . -. -​.​-​. ., relying on Mesarthim's established modus operandi: synth 'em 'n' blast 'em to the cosmos. A winning formula when executed properly, but ultimately boxed and limiting. It’s the latest Type III which departs furthest from prior work, extending Mesarthim’s already impressive wingspan.

So, instead of noise-walls, Mesarthim turns to breakdowny riffs, fewer blastbeats, increased sampling, and cleaner production/synth on Type III. The idea persists, though: to induce meditation, an oceanic feeling, and the unsettling sense of verloren. Bipolar intensities modulate over the 19-minute runtime, carried on switchbacks between morose ambiance and high-pitched climaxes.

Initially off-putting, newfangled electronic undertones integrate into the fabric of Type III. Sonic bandwidth has been freed by cutting most of the fuzz-based atmosphere, and filling the hole are demarcated and hooky electronic melodies. Vocals remain consistent with prior releases: long, back-arching howls, occasionally layered with a heroic sounding choir for extra shebang.

Above all, Type III feels mature and developed despite its experimental nature. The fact that contrasting ideas merge seamlessly within the guitar/synth harmony demonstrates a sharp artistic acuity. The same acuity needed to create symphony within the singular dense fuzz, something Mesarthim already does well.

Perhaps the next step for Mesarthim will be blending the more delicate aspects of Type III with the brute atmospheric force of .- -​.​.​. .​.​. . -. -​.​-​. .. Something both unusual but also familiar. If there's any fault with Type III, it's overdramatic cheesiness, the big-budget film score kind. If Mesarthim's next release augments the successes here with additional weight (blastbeats, more layering), we could be looking at an accomplished third album. Three, of course, being the magic number.

Stream Type III below.

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Mesarthim is on Facebook.

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